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The power of a binder vs a coiled planner?


For many of us the format of our planners is as important as the inserts, the layout and the decoration. When it comes to buying a planner, you have to decide whether you want a pre-set coiled planner or whether it is better to get a binder, Filofax style so that we can customize it and add or remove as many pages as we want, with the hope that it will be THE perfect planner that we are always chasing.

The advantages of choosing a pre-set coiled planner are for example that, these days there are many planners out there that you can customize to your liking. You can add the cover you want, with the design you want and the layout and formats that you wish. I recently came across a beautiful customizable planner that I am actually considering in getting for next year. Just like that, when I saw how beautiful it’d be to have a planner that “I made”, I decided to drop my idea of re-ordering the Plum Paper Planner (PPP) and go for this one. After all, I already know how the PPP planner is and I would certainly like to try something new. This new planner that I discovered, and maybe I am late in the game, is called personal-planer.com and you find it at http://www.personal-planner.com/us . This planner is coiled but you can always remove the coil to add the pages to a binder, either a Kikki.K or Filofax or Franklin Covey. I guess the reason why, at least I think, coiled planner are a great idea is because you have all your pages together for the year, you don’t need to change anything, it already is customized, you can just take it with you and throw it in your bag or backpack wherever you go without having to remove or add things to it. Also, usually, the covers are covered with a plastic protector which makes these planners durable and ready to be on the go. These are quick, easy to use, practical planners.

The disadvantages are though, that if you get tired of the design or if you are someone who likes to be changing the inserts and dividers and what not in your planner, then you will get tired of seeing the same notebook over and over. Also, you can’t add or remove pages to it, unless you tear them up. To alter the order of these planners you have to remove the coil, which is a “dangerous” task, if you are like me, who could get it completely wrong. If you like versatility, then it is likely that you will get bored with a planner like this.

A binder, on the other hand, allows you to change your inserts any time as life changes. The reason why there are so many planners out there is because as our life changes, so do our need for new inserts and formats that will help us be organized. Also, sometimes, many of us don’t even use the inserts that these binders come with and we create or buy our own, this said, a binder is a much better option when we want to have that flexibility and be able to add, remove, change or reverse our inserts. Also, a binder allows you to customize your planner completely, from the inserts to the layout to the format, to the dividers, labels, tabs and so on. These planners are amazing and these days they come in so many different colors the possibilities are endless.

The disadvantages are that it can become expensive to keep changing all the inserts and accessories if you want to keep on customizing it, if you are okay just with having inserts and a pen to write with, then it is completely fine, but if you are like me who loves making dividers, adding paper clips, creating labels and the whole jazz, then yes, it could become expensive. Also, many of these binders are also a little pricey, then again, you could find a Webster’s pages or a Franklin Convey that are totally inexpensive and still be able to customize it as a high-end Filofax or Kikki.K.

I have two planners that are pre-set and ready to use, one of them is my little ol’ Moleskine planner in large and the other one is the Plum Paper Planner. I use my moleskin for work and my Plum Paper Planner as my family/household planner and I love both of them. My moleskin is small and versatile, I love the format and also, so far for my work I have not felt the need to carry a binder or customize it too much. My job requires me to schedule many meetings, trips to other region of the state and follow ups. I usually use another notebook to write everything else, like to do lists and projects but if I had a binder I would probably have one single place for all things pertaining to my work.

My PPP is more versatile in the use I give it and also, I decorate it a lot. I add journaling cards, post its and clips and basically every accessory that I can think of. It is an A5 size but I don’t carry it with me, it usually stays home and because I mostly plan all my family activities with it, and also, I have added many extra pages for different things to it, I don’t feel the need to have a binder. However, I do have a binder for my personal projects, finances and blog things. Probably if I had a binder for my family management, I would have to use one that would allow me to add many, many pages to it with all kinds of inserts.

When it comes down to choosing what kind of planner you want to use, it is important to ask a few of the following questions, just as an example and just to mention a few:

– Are you going to carry the planner with you?
– Do you need to add or remove pages constantly?
– Will it be too heavy if you decide to take it with you at some point?
– Can you use the same format all the time for a whole year if you buy a coiled planner or will you feel the need to change it later on?
– Can you use one pre-set format all year round or do you usually feel you have to change?
– Does your life change often and do you need different kinds of inserts as you go?

These are only a few of the questions that we can ask ourselves when choosing a binder or a coiled planner, but regardless, even if it’s a coiled binder you can always have fun with it, customize it and make it your own, specially these days with so many options out there.

Whatever it is that you choose to carry, remember to have fun with it and to use it on a regular basis, organization is the key to having a successful time management and to being productive, or as they call it: Getting things done!

Enjoy and be fabulous!

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